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Enterprise architects work with stakeholders, both leadership and subject matter experts, to build a holistic view of the organization's strategy, processes, information, and information technology assets. The role of the enterprise architect is to take this knowledge and ensure that the business and IT are in alignment. The enterprise architect links the business mission, strategy, and processes of an organization to its IT strategy, and documents this using multiple architectural models or views that show how the current and future needs of an organization will be met in an efficient, sustainable, agile, and adaptable manner.
Enterprise architects operate across organizational and computing "silos" to drive common approaches and expose information assets and processes across the enterprise. Their goal is to deliver an architecture that supports the most efficient and secure IT environment meeting a company's business needs.
Enterprise architects are like city planners, providing the roadmaps and regulations that a city uses to manage its growth and provide services to its citizens. In this analogy, it is possible to differentiate the role of the system architect, who plans one or more buildings; software architects, who are responsible for something analogous to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) within the building; network architects, who are responsible for something like the plumbing within the building, and the water and sewer infrastructure between buildings or parts of a city. The enterprise architect however, like a city planner, both frames the citywide design, and choreographs other activities into the larger plan.
A holistic enterprise architecture (entarch) strategy has the potential to allow both the Business and IT strategies to cohesively enable and drive each other. Therefore, enterprise architecture may be regarded as one of the key means to achieving competitive advantage through information technology.